Keep Watch With Me

Saturday, March 09, 2013, 6:30 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

Near the Cross / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary's mountain.

…Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o'er me.

Near the cross I'll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV):

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Sorrowful and Troubled

Jesus had just finished preparing his disciples for what was coming, yet they really didn’t get it. He told them that he would be betrayed and that, in fact, one among them would betray him to death. He also informed them that they would all desert him. Peter declared he would not, but the Lord Jesus reaffirmed that, indeed, he would. In fact, he would deny Jesus Christ three times. Peter and all the disciples declared they would never disown their Lord, even if it meant their own deaths. Oh, how often we speak such passionate, yet careless words, without prayerful thought and consideration as to what we are truly saying, and whether or not we can really follow through with our bold declarations.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He told all of them who were with him to sit where they were while he went “over there” to pray. Then he took Peter, James and John with him. He began to be sorrowful and troubled, because it was nearing the time when he would be handed over to death, and he would be severely beaten and then hung on a cross to die. Yet, I believe he was troubled and sorrowed in his heart not so much because of the physical suffering he was to endure, though that would be great for sure, and he was human, i.e. he felt pain just like we do, but what overwhelmed him with sorrow to the point of death was the reality of what must take place for him to save us from our sins. He would have to, and did, take the sins of the entire world upon him so that our sins could be put to death with him, and so that he could conquer sin, death, hell and Satan via his resurrection, so we could go free!

In Jesus’ time of preparation of his disciples for his death and his resurrection, he also prepared them for what they would and must suffer for the sake of his name and for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet they didn’t entirely get that, either. He told them that they would have to drink the cup he was to drink, which was a symbol of death and suffering, including severe persecution and death for his sake. He told them they would be hated for the sake of his name and for their testimony for Jesus Christ – that they would be persecuted, mocked, ridiculed, accused of being of Satan, thought crazy, beaten and that some of them would even be killed because of Jesus Christ.

As well, he prepared all of us for the time of the end when a time of great sorrow and suffering would come upon the earth, known as the time of tribulation, at which time the saints of God would suffer greatly at the hands of the beast, false prophet and the dragon, and when God will pour out his wrath on mankind. Yet, many of us don’t really get that, either. Numerous followers in Jesus Christ believe the church will be raptured before things get really bad. I can’t say with 100% certainty that something like this may not happen, yet I don’t see this scripturally. Yet, I am not here to debate this subject, either. I believe scripture teaches that the saints of God will be here and will suffer greatly, and many will be killed for their testimony for Jesus Christ, and that the letters to the seven churches are preparation for that, calling for repentance and warning of judgment to the unrepentant.

As You Will

Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man when he walked the face of this earth. He suffered just like we suffer and he was tempted just like we are tempted and in all the same ways, yet he did not sin. So, when faced with the reality of the nearness of the cross, his humanness called out to the Father to see if there was any other way our salvation could be accomplished, yet I think he knew the answer. Yet, even though he struggled with what he knew was the inevitable, still he yielded to the Father and to the cross. And, this needs to be the attitude of each and every one of us, that we would die to the flesh and to sin daily, and that we would willingly come to the cross and suffer whatever he has in mind for us to go through for his sake and for the sake of the gospel and the salvation of others. We must daily forsake our own desires and submit and surrender to the will of the Father in our lives.

For One Hour?

Jesus asked his disciples to keep watch with him. The idea here is one of a watchman who serves as a guard, who literally keeps watch for the enemy, warns the people of the approach of the enemy or of potential threats and dangers lurking, and calls the people to prepare for battle. So, when Jesus asked his disciples to keep watch with him in prayer, he was basically asking them to be fully aware of what is coming and to prepare their hearts for the battle that was to ensue. They needed this time in prayer to get ready, but instead they fell asleep, because they didn’t get the seriousness of Jesus’ words, possibly because they just couldn’t imagine such a thing.

I think many of us are there today. We go about life as though it will just go on forever with business as usual and we are not watching and seeing the approach of the enemy and the nearness of the time of the end and so we won’t be prepared for what is around the corner, and I think it will be beyond anything we could possibly imagine.

Jesus said that we should “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And, the disciples proved that to be true, because they had great spirit, passion and enthusiasm for their Lord, yet they truly believed that Jesus’ words to them could not possibly come to pass for they would never desert their Lord, and yet when the rubber met the road they all deserted him.

So, it is possible to be full of enthusiasm for Jesus Christ but yet due to failure to keep watch and wait, and due to our own unwillingness to face the reality of our own weaknesses and/or of what is truly upon us, we may be caught off guard and we may fall prey to the temptation to desert our Lord, too. So, if we want to remain strong in our faith, and prepared for spiritual battle and for the inevitable persecution of the church that awaits us, we must daily put on the full armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and we must watch for the enemy and pray that we will not fall into temptation.

To My Beloved / An Original Work / November 14, 2011

Based off I Pet. 5:6-9; Eph. 6:10-20; Jms. 4:4-10

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Put on His full armor in your fight
Against the enemy of your souls,
And resist him with all your might.
Take up the shield of your faith within you.
Salvation’s helmet – you put it on.
Put on the belt of truth,
And walk in the Spirit,
And you’ll not be ashamed.
Love your Lord Jesus; call His Name.

Call on your Lord and Savior, Jesus, and
Make Him Lord and King of your hearts.
Obey all of His teachings He has given
To you to follow in all His ways.
Repent of your sins. Return to your God.
Follow Him where’er He leads you now.
Humble yourselves in full
Surrender to His will
For your lives today.
Bow before Him, and humbly pray.

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Obey your Lord in ev’rything, always
Keeping His teachings in your hearts near you.
Walk with Christ in ev’ry way.
Resist the devil. He will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and He’ll be near you.
Wash your hands you sinners
And double minded.
Weep and wail o’er sin.
With Christ, your new lives begin.